If you Google Church Records, you’re likely to find pages from Irish genealogy websites as well as the archive of Catholic Parish Registers from years gone by. After these unexpected results, you may also come across the London-based record label and party that has been making waves in the electronic music world for a few years now.
What started out as ‘art school exhibitions with a little music towards the end’, in the basement of St. Giles Church in Camberwell, London, soon became a residency at Corsica Studios and grew into a record label with its own distinctive, downtempo house aesthetic. The founders of the label, Seb Wildblood and DJ Apes, have come a long way from the night they started, which quickly grew too raucous for its religious venue. The name stuck, however, and today Church has a dedicated following in London and across the globe. What is unique about them is the consistency and warm, raw feel of every release, as well as the frequency with which they seem to unearth new gems.
Wildblood himself has been one of the most prolific and interesting new names on the block, following up his 2015 Foreign Parts album with EPs like U, Jazz Vol.1 and SW005. His dusty, hazy and catchy house records have earned him recognition and acclaim, not least online, where Church releases are quick to be put out by YouTube channels like Slav and Houseum. Apart from Wildblood’s own gems, the roster of artists and discoveries has been hugely impressive. Project Pablo, Laurence Guy and Chaos in the CBD are just a few of the artists Church championed who are sure to turn into household names if they aren’t already (in woke households, at least!). The simple artwork and love for the music that shines through is refreshing and reliably top notch.
Many of the producers on Church have had an astronomical rise recently, with Project Pablo making waves on labels like Mood Hut and 1080p and Kiwi duo Chaos in the CBD becoming regulars on the festival circuit. In addition to these artists, Beesmunt Soundsystem, FYI Chris, Mall Grab and Folamour are all names that have been growing in stature. When you listen to Church’s output, it’s not hard to see why. They have a relaxed, late evening feel while being groovy enough for the dancefloor, and you can imagine everyone from morning commuters to stoned college kids to downtempo aficionados tapping their feet to these rhythms. The lo-fi, raw ‘YouTube house’ aesthetic which has become so ubiquitous in the past few years was pioneered by labels like Church, and their releases work perfectly at the beginning of a set or as a relaxed afternoon warm up.
You can pick up their digital releases at https://churchofficial.bandcamp.com/ or buy their records on Discogs/ when you go to Europe. Meanwhile, listen to an older mix from founder Seb Wildblood here and get ready for his India tour at the start of November!